17/05/2022

Percy Jackson Creator Pens Letter Supporting Annabeth Chase Actress Leah Jeffries

Percy Jackson creator Rick Riordan had to pen a letter supporting Leah Jeffries after she had been cast as Annabeth Chase in the Disney+ series. A number of fans objected to the African-American actress being cast in the role. The conversation turned odious enough for the creative to create a post on his website calling for the end of the harassment the young actor has faced. Aryan Simhadri and Walker Scobell had also been cast for the new series. But, elements of the fandom online have been hyper critical of Jefferies’ inclusion. Other commentators online have likened the treatment of the young actress to how John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran were treated during their Star Wars tenures.

“This post is specifically for those who have a problem with the casting of Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase. It’s a shame such posts need to be written, but they do. First, let me be clear I am speaking here only for myself,” Riordan clarified. “These thoughts are mine alone. They do not necessarily reflect or represent the opinions of any part of Disney, the TV show, the production team, or the Jeffries family.”

“You are judging [Leah]’s appropriateness for this role solely and exclusively on how she looks. She is a Black girl playing someone who was described in the books as white…that is racism.”LeahIsOurAnnabeth

Read Rick’s statement at the link below:https://t.co/DGeOzrjZuw

— Rick Riordan (@rickriordan) May 10, 2022

“The response to the casting of Leah has been overwhelmingly positive and joyous, as it should be. Leah brings so much energy and enthusiasm to this role, so much of Annabeth’s strength. She will be a role model for new generations of girls who will see in her the kind hero they want to be,” the creator observed.

“If you have a problem with this casting, however, take it up with me. You have no one else to blame. Whatever else you take from this post, we should be able to agree that bullying and harassing a child online is inexcusably wrong,” he continued. “As strong as Leah is, as much as we have discussed the potential for this kind of reaction and the intense pressure this role will bring, the negative comments she has received online are out of line. They need to stop. Now.”

Later in the letter, Riordan argues, “The core message of Percy Jackson has always been that difference is strength. There is power in plurality. The things that distinguish us from one another are often our marks of individual greatness. You should never judge someone by how well they fit your preconceived notions. That neurodivergent kid who has failed out of six schools, for instance, may well be the son of Poseidon. Anyone can be a hero.”

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“If you don’t get that, if you’re still upset about the casting of this marvelous trio, then it doesn’t matter how many times you have read the books. You didn’t learn anything from them,” the creator notes. “Watch the show or don’t. That’s your call. But this will be an adaptation that I am proud of, and which fully honors the spirit of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, taking the bedtime story I told my son twenty years ago to make him feel better about being neurodivergent, and improving on it so that kids all over the world can continue to see themselves as heroes at Camp Half-Blood.”

What did you think about his statement? Let us know down in the comments!